Don’t Mistake Being Busy With Being Productive

Don’t Mistake Being Busy With Being Productive

There’s a huge difference between being busy and being productive. In today’s society everyone is moving a million miles a minute. Why? They have to get the kids to school, do their dry cleaning, get the kids to their special events like ballet, gymnastics, football, soccer, they have to update their social networks on facebook, LinkedIn, etc. That’s before they get into the office and have a flood of meetings, conference calls, internal meetings, etc.

What happens as a result? They’re always being pulled in a number of different directions and they have an enormous amount of things to get done. We operate in a state of constantly being busy.

We’re all guilty of this, so when you’re asked how you’re doing by a colleague or friend the common response is that you say you’re busy. On the surface that seems very impressive. But is it really? We have to remember that being busy doesn’t mean that we’re productive.

Here’s how you translate being busy into being productive:
First, let’s start with a metaphor so you can picture what I’m really getting at. During a number of our training sessions with clients we do an exercise called: magic beans. We have a jar that will hold a 1,000 beans. Those beans represent all the things we do in life that make us busy (kids, work, travel time, meetings, etc.). We also have five golf balls that represent the five most important (priorities) things that you have to do.

Each bean that you drop into the jar represents one of the things that makes your life so busy, filling the jar with the 1,000 beans. What happens when you allow life and all of these busy items to control your day, is that when it comes time to focus on your top priorities (i.e. the golf balls) they simply do not fit into the jar. Much like never having enough time to focus on what truly matters and produces results in your life.

Next, we empty the jar and instead of letting the busy items control our life we start by focusing and prioritizing on those things that matter most. We drop the five golf balls into the jar first and then we proceed to drop all of the 1,000 beans (busy items) into the jar. That’s when the magic takes place. All of the golf balls and beans fit into the jar and we can screw the lid on tight.

The point of the visual is to represent that when we focus on our priorities and take care of the things that matter most first there is still time in the day to accomplish all of the other things.

In the mortgage market today things are tough. You can spend a lot of time in meetings, watching what competitors are doing, planning new offerings, etc. Before you know it your day is done and what do you have to show for it? You really need to make the most of every minute to get ahead in this, or any other, market. Never let yourself get so busy that you lose sight of what’s important.

Here’s my final thought for this week: When you’re looking for a competitive edge it’s important to know that being busy doesn’t mean that you re also being productive. Prioritize first and results will follow. Try it, it works.